Skip to main content

South Dakota Rep. and USD Alumnus Dusty Johnson to Deliver Commencement Address May 8

Dusty Johnson headshot South Dakota Rep. and USD alumnus Dusty Johnson will deliver the commencement address at the 134th Commencement Ceremony to be held on Saturday, May 8 in the DakotaDome.

VERMILLION, S.D. – South Dakota Rep. Dusty Johnson will deliver the commencement address at the 134th Commencement Ceremony to be held Saturday, May 8 in the DakotaDome.

Johnson graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1999 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and minors in business administration and history.

Johnson was recently reelected to the U.S. House in November 2020 to continue to represent South Dakota’s At-Large Congressional District.

He is a recognized leader in issues related to rural America, agriculture and welfare reform. Johnson serves on the Agriculture Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He is also the ranking member of the Livestock & Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee and a member of the Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit Subcommittee.

In 2004, Johnson was elected statewide to the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission. He worked with his colleagues to maintain a regulatory environment, facilitating the investment of hundreds of millions of dollars into rural energy and telecommunications infrastructure. In 2010, Gov. Dennis Daugaard asked Johnson to serve as chief of staff, the chief operating officer for much of state government. In that role, Johnson oversaw many of the governor’s top projects and initiatives, especially those related to infrastructure and public safety.

Prior to being elected to Congress, Johnson served as vice president for Vantage Point Solutions, a South Dakota-based engineering and consulting firm specializing in rural telecommunications.

Johnson grew up in central South Dakota, and he now lives in Mitchell with his wife and three sons.

“It is an honor to have Congressman Johnson as commencement speaker this year,” said USD President Sheila K. Gestring. “Congressman Johnson is a leader and a champion for South Dakota and the nation. We are extremely proud of this distinguished alumnus.”


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News